This month we have started the open, with that comes us pushing ourselves to new limits to do as best as we can, and setting PR’s! Unfortunately, it is also a time where athletes can hurt pushing themselves too hard. That is why we are going to focus on technique to keep ourselves healthy as possible as we surpass our limits.  

BRACING. We all think we do it, but in reality it is something you need to consciously think about. Bracing the core or midsection is actually natural to us, and it is something we do when we first learn to move.The muscles of the pelvic floor internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, multifidus, transvers abdominis, transverse abdominis, and the diaphragm are all designed to give our midsection great bracing power. This then gives one of the weakest structural areas of the body great stability and rigidity. 

In addition to improving force transfer to the bar through increased trunk rigidity, intervertebral disc pressure is reduced and the ability to produce muscular force is increased with breath holding. After you take in a deep breath we must then contract and pull the diaphragm down, this is often the que we give when we say “pull your ribs down”.

Maintain enough tension in the trunk to support whatever weight is on you but truly try to focus on staying as rigid as possible. Any loss of tension with weight on you back can cause serious back injury. The only way to maintain the tension is to constantly think about being in the right position. Often when I observe people squatting or doing anything overhead, members lose their core and end up with an anterior pelvic tilt. 

This is one of the worst positions anyone can lift in because it places the full load on the spine and not the muscles needed to complete the lift.  

Finally, a controlled amount of air can be released during the most difficult part of the lift as needed to avoid dizziness, but must be a limited amount so trunk stability is not compromised. Keep pushing yourselves Bears, and remember to focus on the essentials when you are lifting to stay safe. Good luck in the open!